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  • Writer's pictureKaren O'Reilly

What Does Psalm 23:4 Mean?

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Welcome to Day 19 for a short powerful devotion from our 30 Psalms For Anxiety, Fear, Worry, And Depression bible plan. This short devotional is from Psalm 23:4. And make sure to join me in prayer at the bottom of this post.

Though I Walk Through The Valley

Read Psalm 23:4: (Click on the verse to read it in various translations)

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,

they comfort me." ESV.

Psalm 23:4 is the third verse in our portion of scriptures on the topic of fear in our Psalms for anxiety, fear depression, and worry Bible plan.

David wrote Psalm 23 and it is the most well-known and loved Psalm in the Bible.

Read all of Psalm 23 when you can and you will understand why so many people are encouraged by it.

Psalm 23 is full of beautiful imagery of sheep being cared for by a shepherd. Jesus is our Shepherd and He protects, guides, and blesses us. Just like sheep can get lost or wander into danger, we too can get lost and into trouble and your Shepherd is right there with you, guiding you back to the fold.

What does Psalm 23:4 mean?

What does Psalm 23:4 mean? Bible study

What does Psalm 23:4 mean? What does it mean, though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil?

David had been a shepherd caring for sheep for many years and that involved time alone with just the sheep. He had learned to use that time to talk with God and practice God's presence while he worked. (You can read how to practice the presence of God here)

David had learned that he could walk through a deep valley, fearlessly because he knew God walked with him. The more time you spend intentionally with God enjoying His sweet presence, the more you too will walk fearlessly through your own personal valley of darkness.

Valley of Darkness

I find it interesting that the ESV Bible has a footnote that tells us the phrase "the valley of the shadow of death" can also be translated as "the valley of deep darkness".

Death is not the only valley that causes darkness for us.

Many of us walk through the dark valley of depression, the dark valley of uncertainty, the dark valley of loneliness, and the dark valley of pain or loss during our lifetime.

But! You do not walk through the valley of darkness alone. God walks along beside you. He is the One who wants to comfort and guide you through the valley that you go through.

David also wrote Psalm 139. In it, David asks the question, where shall I go from your Spirit? or Where can I flee from Your presence? David states the truth in Psalm 139:8 "If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

Remember this truth today: God walks with you through the dark valley of darkness - you are not alone and there is nowhere that you can be separated from God's presence.

Here is some beautiful imagery from the rod and staff that a shepherd in Bible times carried.

Your rod and staff comfort me

What does it mean that " Your rod and staff comfort me"?

A shepherd in Bible times carried a rod and a staff to protect the sheep.

A shepherd's rod was a long, sturdy stick used to defend the sheep from predators or to guide and direct them. This was worn at the shepherd's belt. It represents God's power, authority, and protection over His people.

The staff, on the other hand, was a longer stick with a curved end (known as a crook) used to gently guide, count and examine the sheep for parasites hidden in their fleece in the evening when they returned to the fold.

So how does God's rod and staff comfort, David?

Just as the rod and staff were used as weapons to protect the sheep, David trusted God to protect him. The more time we spend in God's presence, we will discern His voice guiding us down the safe path that He has planned for us to walk. Sometimes that path gets corrupted with sin and disease but walk through it well knowing that God is right beside you.

Did you know that Jesus promises in John 10:28 that no one can snatch you from His presence?

When it comes to the time for you to walk through the ultimate dark valley of death - know that God is with you and that He has prepared a place for you (John 14:2).

I Shall Fear No Evil

As we finish this study, I want to ask you, what does Psalm 23:4 mean to you? What do you fear?

Do you fear failure?

Do you fear loneliness?

Do you fear pain?

Do you fear uncertainty?

Do you fear inadequacy?

Do you fear loss?

Can you say with David, "I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,

they comfort me."?

What is God saying to you through Psalm 23:4?

What fears do you need to surrender to God?

Free printable prayer journal

Use our free printable prayer journal that was specifically designed for our 30 Psalms challenge on anxiety or a notebook to answer those questions above. You can download it here. Use it to go deeper as you ponder all that God will reveal to you as you spend time in His presence.

30 psalms for anxiety printable workbook

Bible affirmation: Remind yourself often of these biblical truths.

1. You can fear no evil because God is with you to comfort and guide you. He is your constant companion, walking beside you every step of the way.

2. Jesus promises that no one can snatch you from His presence.

3. Jesus has prepared a place for you with Him in Heaven when it comes time for you to walk through the valley of death.

Scripture prayer: Psalm 23:4

Join me in praying Psalm 23:4.

Father, As I walk through the valleys of life, I turn to You, my Shepherd, for comfort and strength. In the face of darkness and uncertainty, I find solace in Your unwavering presence and unfailing love. You are my source of courage and peace, O Lord, and I pray that You will grant me the strength to face any challenges that lie ahead. When fear attempts to grip my heart, remind me that You are with me, guiding me with Your rod and staff. Amen.

Other encouraging Bible verses

Related Resources:

You will find the 30 Psalms For Anxiety, Fear, Worry, And Depression bible plan HERE It will have the list of 30 Bible verses that we are using for 30 days for our bible challenge.

Connect: Join me on Facebook and Instagram for daily encouragement. If you have enjoyed this devotional, share it with Facebook using the button below or pin the graphic above to Pinterest. Help me spread God's joy to everyone! If you would like to have more fellowship with a wonderful bunch of faith-filled women, come over to our Facebook Group, Restoring Beauty For Ashes.

Karen xx.


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